Each September, the Minnesota Women’s Press team sits down to plan the following year’s monthly themes. We hoped that with vaccines underway, the 2021 thaw would be exceptional and plotted a May magazine to complement burgeoning colors and rebirth.
The storytellers in this issue weave a common thread — they make visible the world they want to create through visual art.
JoJo Bell of the African American Interpretive Center of Minnesota curated an exhibit to explore the multifaceted nature of Black life in rural and suburban Minnesota. Thomasina Topbear and Miskitoos of City Mischief Murals use art to reclaim public space for Indigenous voices. Dara Beevas wished she could read picture books about real-life Black royalty to her daughter, so she wrote them herself. Diver Van Avery continues to help families express and find healing through poetry.
As museums remain partially shuttered, accessible outdoor art becomes a powerful communication tool. Artist Sydney Latimer helped create a public shrine, in the fashion of Catholic saints, that memorializes Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, and seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley- Jones. In late March, Latimer added the names of Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, and Paul Andre Michels after they were murdered in Georgia. The shrine “invokes quiet reverence and encourages public dialogue about collective grief, police brutality, social uprising, and civil discourse,” Latimer writes.
Many of the pieces represented in this issue make me think of one of my favorite writings by author and illustrator Lynda Barry. “[Images] can’t transform your actual situation, but they can transform your experience of it,” she writes in her book “What It Is.” “We don’t create … to escape reality, we create to be able to stay.”
What I love most about my job is that it puts me in regular contact with the imaginative, collaborative voices of Minnesotans.
Self-interest has been the general narrative of many for a long time. It is the people in these pages, on our website, and in our developing Ecolution series and forums that know society thrives when it is focused on serving our common interests. Systems do not work are being recreated by those who work for democratic unity, conscious consumerism,, and investment in our values.
The annual Readers Recommend winners announced in this month’s issue reflect what we like best about local businesses, services, and leaders — alignment with a shared vision of serving the greater whole.